For Immediate Release
June 12, 2017
Priscilla Feral, president, Friends of Animals 203.656.0267; email@example.com
Elizabeth Forel, president, Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages; firstname.lastname@example.org
A NYC carriage horse ban is the only solution...involving another agency is not
Horses are not taxi cabs.
That’s why the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages and Friends of Animals disagrees with NYClass’ latest proposal to have the Taxi and Limousine Commission be in charge of the awful carriage horse industry instead of the Health Department, Consumer Affairs and the NYPD.
You can’t regulate atrocities—the only solution is for NYC to ban horse-drawn carriages so the horses can be placed in waiting sanctuaries once and for all.
“The most the Taxi and Limousine Commission could possibly do identify where a carriage was at any given time and target overcharging. It would have no effect on double-shifting of horses, overloading carriages, allowing horses to be unattended and untethered—even traffic violations like the constant practice of U-turns and using cell phones while driving. So why add more agencies to the list of failures?" said Teresa D'Amico, board member of Friends of Animals.
"Ending this dangerous and inhumane industry is the only workable solution. Over the years, we have seen many accidents, in addition to the release of the damning 2007 Comptroller’s Audit, showing that agencies like the Department of Health and Consumer Affairs have failed to adequately regulate this industry. The ASPCA removed itself from the equation in 2014 when they gave up humane law enforcement, and the NYPD never really stepped up to fill the void. The idea of getting the Taxi & Limousine Commission involved is one that goes back to the ASPCA but was never pursued for practical reasons.”
SO WHY DO WE WANT A BAN OF HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGES?
New York City is one of the most traffic-congested cities in the world. Common sense should dictate that slow-moving horse-drawn carriages, led by unpredictable horses, must not be part of this mix. But somehow this safety message is not heard by our politicians, who continue to look the other way when there is an accident. They unfortunately value their reelection aspirations and union support over the safety of New Yorkers. That union support is based on promoting the myth of “good union jobs” in the carriage trade, which simply are non-existent and ultimately will hurt the driver/worker … not the owners. There have been horse-drawn carriage-related deaths around the world, and it can happen here.
“Horses are prey animals and are skittish by nature,” said Mary Culpepper, vice president of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages. “They can spook at the slightest provocation—a loud noise, rustling leaves, even an umbrella opening. They can become unintentional weapons and can kill or injure themselves or innocent passersby. They can also cause serious property damage. Their nature is indisputable, and no amount of driver training can change that. It does not matter whether they are traveling in congested Central Park or gridlocked Ninth Avenue, where Spotty died—accidents have occurred in both areas,” said Culpepper.
In addition, the horses do not have any turn out to pasture and work nine hours a day, seven days a week. This is cruelty.
WHAT WILL REALLY HAPPEN TO THE DRIVERS IF THE INDUSTRY SHUTS DOWN?
"The Hell’s Kitchen/Hudson Yards area on the far west side of midtown Manhattan, which includes the Javits Center and Port Authority, is breaking records with new office building and residential construction, and eventually the stable owners will get an offer they can't refuse," said Elizabeth Forel, president of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages and board member of Friends of Animals.
"This has nothing to do with pushing them out but everything to do with economics. They will sell or be boxed in, and their property will lose value as new construction goes up around them. Office workers and residents will not want to work and live next to unpleasant, smelly stables with the danger of horses spooking and causing injuries or death. Because of the lack of planning and foresight on the part of the carriage industry, there will be drivers without jobs and horses without homes when the owners retire. This kind of business simply cannot continue much longer. A low-cost proposal to convert existing carriages to battery operated—saving the horses—has previously been met with deaf ears."
The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages and Friends of Animals have worked on this difficult political issue for decades. Knowing from experience that more regulations do not work, the Coalition started the first-ever ban campaign in 2006 in response to a horrific accident in which a five-year old horse named Spotty was killed. While the historic bill introduced a decade ago by former City Council Member Tony Avella got a bit of traction, it was ultimately blocked by former Speaker Christine Quinn. It was not, however, supported by then-Council Member Bill de Blasio. Then, when he became mayor, he never demonstrated a good understanding of the issue and was limited in his ability to lobby the City Council despite promises to end the trade.